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Self-Care Week 2016

We’re always harping on about self-care because we understand how important it is but also, how bloomin’ difficult it is too.

Self-care is far from easy. Increased self-awareness can lead us to some tricky discoveries about what works for us, and what doesn’t. The resistance we experience from ourselves, and sometimes, from others, plants a seed of doubt in our minds. And, to begin with, it can feel selfish.

It’s not selfish, it’s essential. We can’t be all the things we want to be if we don’t take care of ourselves. A car can’t keep driving forever without some kind of maintenance; regular fuel top-ups, service, MOT and repairs. We’re exactly the same.

Putting together self-care resources is a tricky one because what counts as self-care will be different for each of us. What nourishes one person, won’t necessarily nourish another.

On this page you’ll find some information and resources to help you – to aid understanding of what self-care is for you, to provide practical advice and to give you some ways/ideas to kickstart a self-care practice.

You can also get involved with the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, using the hashtag #selfcareweek.

Tweet: It’s #selfcareweek and @blurtalerts have put together some awesome resources. Go and have a gander – Click to Tweet

“Self love is asking yourself what you need – everyday – and then making sure you receive it.” - Unknown

Some Reading

Self-care is depression’s nemesis. When we partake in self-care activities, we act in the opposite way depression would like us to.

As we grow, change and develop, we find that self-care never stops being a work in progress. It changes with us and we continually have to adopt and adapt our self-care practices.

To help you find your self-care groove, we’ve gathered some ‘self-care’ posts together. We hope they help.

SELF-CARE ON A BUDGET: 10 THINGS TO TRY

While spa days and shopping sprees are undoubtedly expensive, there are many other acts of self-care that cost very little or are in fact free.

DEPRESSION: WHY SELF-CARE MATTERS

Self-care is one of the key tools in our armoury for combating depression, so it’s important we make it a priority.

19+ IDEAS FOR SELF-CARE

If you’re supporting someone with depression, you may feel useless.
You’re not useless, there are many ways you can help.

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay

Questions to ask before giving up

Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers

Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too.

12 Simple Truths About Self Care

Self-care is something I never truly understood for many years. I had no notion of how critical daily self-care is, as a ritual, a habit. And I couldn’t engage in self-care because I was being far too self-critical instead.

Self-Care: Why It Isn’t Just a Trend

The term “self-care” has become a hot topic thrown around a lot, particularly in regards to mental health. But do we really understand what self-care is and why it can be needed?

Own Self-Care: It’s Simple — And Essential

Self-care can have many manifestations. The good news is there is no right answer as to what self-care looks like.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamott

The Low-Down on Self-Care With...

Sometimes we, the Blurt team, suck with this ol’ self-care malarkey. Of all the balls we juggle in life, it’s always the first one we drop. When we post reminders to you, they serve as reminders to us too. It’s a constant work in progress.

We’re curious about how other people manage. What does self-care look like to them?

Jeremy Vine

Good egg, presenter of BBC Radio 2, journalist, cyclist, TV presenter.

What does self-care mean to you? 
Sleeping well; letting old thoughts fade and be filed. Not fighting every battle. Ensuring that I am creative in what I do.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?  
I go to the Screen on Baker Street, order coffee in a cup and saucer, and watch a movie.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Never close your mind to the things that trouble it. Be happy in yourself: face yourself. Every problem is a solution. Know your mind.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why? 
Seriously? Not the obvious Euromillions skill? Probably to dance. If not that, to be patient in queues.
What was the last book you read?
Currently: Middlemarch. Before that: Out of Bounds by Val McDermid.

Jayne Hardy

Blurt CEO, mum, introvert and expert napper

What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care for me is about being mindful of how the decisions I make will impact me. When I prioritise self-care, it leaves me feeling nourished, energised and relaxed. Yet it also tends to be the first ball, of all the balls I’m juggling, to be dropped. There’s also a resistance to self-care and some guilt. I’m hoping those feelings will reduce the more I keep at it!
I’m an introvert and so it’s important for me to have a slice of time alone each day to recoup and re-balance. It’s a work-in-progress too, but I find being completely disconnected from the digital world allows me to really connect with my friends and family.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
On the toughest of the toughest days when depression is winning the battle, I tend to hide away in bed to weather the storm. It’s the only place I feel safe. On the tough, but not-so-tough days, I always find comfort from my family, Green and Blacks chocolate, warm baths and spending time by the sea.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?
I would go back and tell teenage Jayne that it is absolutely a-okay to be herself. That she is good enough. And worthy. To stop bending and twisting to meet other people’s expectations of her, to stop seeking their approval and most of all, that her dreams and aspirations aren’t ‘pie in the sky’ but ones that she can achieve if she would just believe in herself.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to fly, it’s much less crowded up there in the sky.
What was the last book you read?
Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani

Wentworth Miller

A real treasure to the mental health community, actor, screenwriter and producer

What does self-care mean to you?
Doing what I need to do throughout the day, large and small, to keep me vibrating at the right frequency.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
Burning sage. Walking around the block. A change of scenery. Turning on my salt lamp. Peanut Butter M&Ms. Early to bed.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?
That life is a gym. And each day is a chance to work a different set of muscles. Some days it’s about endurance. Others it’s about patience. Most days it’s about learning to trust that there’s “a reason for the season.” Whatever the season looks like.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why?
I should probably learn how to cook. But really, I’m only interested in the eating part.
What was the last book you read?
I don’t remember. These days I’m more magazine-friendly. I’ve got a stack of New Yorkers going back 2 years that I’m determined to get through.

Gabrielle Treanor

Mindfulness maestro at gabrielletreanor.com

What does self-care mean to you? 
It means doing what’s right for me to be the best version of myself. By taking care of myself I know I’m in a much better position to put good energy into the world, to be helpful, considerate and supportive to others, and to do my best work. Self-care could look like an early night, meeting up with friends, meditating, yoga, saying yes rather than no or no rather than yes, trying new things, pushing out of my comfort zone or choosing a slice of cake over a piece of fruit, or vice versa.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
Depending on what I feel I need at that time I can either retreat into myself by curling up on the couch with the dog, a blanket and a book. Or I can take myself outside and go for a mindful walk with the dog in nature, paying attention to everything I can see, hear, smell and feel around me. Or I can get on the phone to a good friend. Which option I choose depends on what I feel will best support me at that moment, which can mean going out when I want to hide in.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? 
I’d tell my younger self “You’re braver than you think. You can do anything you set your mind to and you have every reason to believe in yourself.”
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why?
I know it’s a pretty common wish but how amazing would it be to be able to fly?!
What was the last book you read? 
Rising Strong by Brené Brown. She drives home the point that we make up stories all the time in reaction to what people say or do and what happens around us. Stories that can have no basis in reality but we believe them and let them govern our emotions and actions. It pairs up with one of my favourite sayings: Thoughts are not facts.

Jonny Benjamin

Ray of sunshine, YouTuber, Mental Health Campaigner and Founder of ThinkWell pixellearning.org/

What does self-care mean to you? 
Putting myself first, which I find pretty challenging to do!! But it happens sometimes and when I do I might do some meditation, go for a walk, take myself to the cinema-anything that reconnects me back with my core.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
Music. I have a pick-me-up playlist including songs like Feeling Good by Nina Simone and Rise Up by Andra Day. Other things include chocolate, a long hot bath, and picking up the phone to my Mum!
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? 
So many things!! I think it would be that “It gets brighter”. I really believed I was stuck in a deep, dark hole my whole entire life. And that’s an unbearable way of existence. But I know now that “All things must pass”. I just wish I knew it in my teens.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why? 
To switch my mind off, just for a little bit each day! I mean really switch it off and stop ruminating and worrying, especially when I wake up and go to sleep at night!
What was the last book you read? 
It’s probably a self-help book, that’s all I ever read at the moment! But the last non self help book was earlier this year-Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Well it kind of is a self-help book in a way, but I really enjoyed the story. I personally found the authors journey to “find herself” very inspiring!

Carlyn McEwan-Crum

Our super kind, Lush-bath-bomb-loving Peer Support Manager

What does self-care mean to you? 
Self-care means different things to me, dependent on the where I am in my mental health journey. When I was deep in depression – self care was brushing my teeth, getting out of bed and going to my various appointments. Now I am in healthier headspace, self-care is taking a moment in every day to do something just for me – whether that’s a bath bomb or picking up a new book, It’s why I love the #365daysofselfcare challenge. Some days it’s still about doing those things that others might take for granted, but I think the most important thing about self-care is that it does for you in the moment something that improves your mood and/or well-being regardless of what it is.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough? 
snuggling up with blankets and a good book, watching my favourite Youtube videos and of course a fabulous bath bomb! On the really tough days, it helps to just step out the house even for a five minute walk, especially if I haven’t been out in a while – that’s generally one of the signs that I’m not doing well.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?
You are perfectly fine just the way you are, change them not you.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why? 
I absolutely cannot draw, so I’d love to be able to. I love reading comic books and it’s just a reminder that a) I can’t draw and b) what an amazing talent it really is!
What was the last book you read? 
Public Libraries and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Lotte Lane

Extremely talented and empathetic curator of our weekly emails

What does self-care mean to you? 
To me, self-care means being your own best friend. In my life, I have invested a lot of time and energy developing healthy personal relationships with the people that I love, but my relationship with myself has been pretty dysfunctional. Lately I’ve been trying to change that by treating myself with the same love, care and respect as I do my bestest friends. It’s not always easy, but being a friend to myself has changed my life. I know who I *really* am, I accept it wholeheartedly and try to express it without shame. I look after myself, support myself, encourage myself – and challenge myself, where necessary. I’m learning to enjoy my own company. To me, this is the ultimate form of self-care.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough? 
Sleep! Since having kids I’ve been pretty much constantly sleep deprived, and as such the best pick-me-up I can offer myself is an early night. It really does make a difference to my outlook and wellbeing. I have hermity tendencies, but getting outside and into nature always lifts my mood. I also like a long hot bath with a book and something tasty to drink (herbal tea or gin, depending on how virtuous I’m feeling!). Since becoming a mum I’ve found it stupidly difficult to allow myself time to relax – there always feels like there is something more important I “should” be doing. But I also know that I’m a better, more pleasant parent when I’m happy and well-rested, so lately I’ve been trying to fit chill time into my schedule.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? 
I’d tell little Lotte that she is absolutely perfect the way she is. She spends a lot of time ruminating on her not-enoughness: she believes that to be worthy of love she needs to be different. But the truth is that difference is what makes her so special. She has always been loved, and she always will be.
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why? 
The ability to shoot compassion lasers into people’s hearts. The world would be a much nicer place if we all loved more, and hated less. My compassion lasers would transform the way we see and relate with others, and would also change the way we treat ourselves.
What was the last book you read? 
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It was magnificent.

Maddy Dilley AKA McHuggus

Spreader of kindness and encouragement across our social media channels

What does self-care mean to you? 
Self-care for me is stepping back from responsibilities, whether that’s my children, friends or work, and doing something that is just about making me smile and relax.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
Most of my bad day’s involve high pain levels so a relaxing bath is always a good one. Cuddles with my amazing partner and two fabulous boys always works too. If I just need to hunker down then snuggling up in bed surrounded by pillows, chocolate and a good book is the best route for me. Simple but effective.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? 
You CAN do it. Believe in yourself and follow your instincts – things really will work out for you!
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why?
I would want the ability to remove chronic pain (both mentally and physically) from people. Seeing people hurting is something that really affects me and I want to do anything I can to make them feel better. And as this is about ‘self’-care – I’d take away my own pain too.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Love’s Executioner and other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom which I adored and learnt a lot from too. I’m currently reading Hurrah for Gin by Katie Kirby for some light relief and have giggled all the way through so far!

Emily Graham

Our wonderful assistant peer support manager

What does self-care mean to you? 
Allowing myself the time to focus on me instead of thinking that I should really be crossing something off my to-do list.
We all have difficult days. What are your go-to-pick-me-ups when the going gets tough?
Getting outside (even if I can only manage to sit on my front step!); going for a run; mindful breathing; a cup of herbal tea; knitting; or watching a favourite TV show that I know off by heart.
We’re always learning. If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?
As cliched as it sounds, I would love to tell a younger me that instead of worrying about trying to control the future, to instead use that energy to enjoy the present. So many things have happened that I couldn’t have predicted. I could probably do with reminding my current self about this too from time to time!
If you could wake up with one skill or ability, what would it be and why?
Teleportation! There are a few people that I would love to see who are just too far away.
What was the last book you read? 
Requiem for a Mezzo – Carola Dunn

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” - Andre Lorde

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SELF-CARE STARTER KIT

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"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." – Jack Kornfield

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